I’m returning to work this week for the first time in four months and it feels like a bit of a step into the unknown.
It’s going to be great to return to competitive action in the Betfred British Masters at Close House in Newcastle, but, with no fans allowed to attend, the event will feel very different to when I last played there three years ago.
This is the first of six events in the European Tour’s UK Swing and all of the players are having to get used to being tested for Covid-19.
I had to take a test at home before travelling down and I had another one yesterday upon arrival at Close House before entering the “bubble”.
The easy part of this week is going to be playing golf and doing what you normally do.
The hard part will be following all of the protocols and being very aware of the right procedures.
We are marking our cards differently this week so that we don’t have to swap scorecards.
Our temperatures will be checked regularly and we won’t be able to leave the site once we get there.
All it takes is a couple of people to not play their part to cause issues, but, if everybody pulls in the right direction and sticks to the rules, we will be fine.
It’s nice to be back at Close House as I played well here in 2017 when Paul Dunne won. I was tied eighth, so I know I can play well here.
That was a really good event as Newcastle isn’t an area that gets too many big golf events so there was a huge turnout.
My plan is to play at least five of the six upcoming UK events, if not all six.
As I haven’t played in a tournament for more than four months, I know the first week may be quite tiring. I have tried to build myself up for playing six weeks in a row, but it has been difficult while still in a semi-lockdown. I will play the first three or four events and see how I’m feeling.
It was great to see Marc Warren win in Austria earlier this month, especially as he did it in difficult circumstances without having status on the tour. He is now exempt for the rest of the season and next year, which will allow him to build the schedule he wants.
It is also a huge stress reliever if you know you don’t need to worry about getting into tournaments or wait for someone to drop out if you are on the reserve list. It provides an element of job security.
I am relishing getting back competing again and having a purpose.
I have been struggling for a little bit of motivation, which might be a consequence of the lockdown.
I have been missing the element of competition, so I can’t wait to tee off this week. I want to go out there and enjoy the game.
Playing well this week will spur me on for the coming tournaments. If I don’t play well, it will give me the kick I need to get going again. The competition will provide the drive I have missed over the past few months.